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Martinez to prove himself - on loan?

Filed: Wednesday, 1st November 2017
By: Staff Writer

West Ham's in-form Academy striker Toni Martinez scored a brace that sent Bristol Rovers tumbling to defeat in the Checkatrade trophy - but appears to be no closer to a place in Slaven Bilic's first team squad.

The Spanish youngster helped his side - led ably by Declan Rice - to a 3-1 win at the Memorial Stadium last night, despite the hosts having taken the lead inside the opening 30 seconds.

Martinez levelled for West Ham from the penalty spot two minutes ahead of the half time interval before grabbing his second of the night to make it 3-1, after Martin Samuelsen has sent United into the lead.

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And watching manager Terry Westley was subsequently full of praise for the youngster, who, according to his post-match comments, is likely to go on loan in the near future.

"His second goal was sublime," Westley told West Ham's website. "The way he got in between people, saw the 'keeper and instantly knew he had to take it in one touch, meant it was a magnificent finish.

"The challenge for [our players] tonight was this - if you want to go and play in the first division or the Championship you've got to go and show you're as good as their players, if not better.

"We got back on the bus knowing a lot of our players can play at this level, for sure."

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Having beaten Bristol Rovers last night, West Ham's next tie in the Under 21s competition is a trip to Wycombe Wanderers later this month; that game is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 28 November.

The Checkatrade Trophy (previously known as the Football League Trophy) has been running for 34 years and currently consists of 64 teams - all 48 clubs from League One and League Two plus 16 invited Academy (Under 21) squads from the Premeir League and Championship.

West Ham, who are in Southern Group C alongside Rovers, Swindon Town and Wycombe won their opening game of the campaign at Swindon in August, winning 3-2. The top two teams from each of the 16 groups will qualify for the next phase of the competition.

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